National Hispanic Heritage Month comes around each autumn, from September 15 to October 15. The observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. It was expanded by President Ronald Reagan to cover a 30-day period and enacted into law on August 17, 1988. But have you ever wondered why this celebration is spread across two months?
According to hispanicheritagemonth.gov, “The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.”
Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the contributions, rich history, and culture of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, as noted by the US Census Bureau. To quote a recent proclamation from President Joe Biden, “National Hispanic Heritage Month is an important reminder of how much strength we draw as a Nation from our immigrant roots and our values as a Nation of immigrants.”
Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation
The Oxford English Dictionary defines inclusion as, “the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups.”
This year’s National Hispanic Heritage Month theme, “Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation,” directly speaks to our mission at The Alliance for Health Equity: to advance a more equitable, resilient and healthy Greater Coatesville community. It also speaks to our vision of a thriving, inclusive and healthy community for all. We do this in many ways, including our Community Voice initiative that helps to empower and amplify community voices to direct our services towards what is needed the most. For more information about Community Voice and how we are leading positive, community-driven change, click here.
- The Hispanic population is over 6 million in the US.
- The number of Hispanic residents in Pennsylvania has quickly grown in recent years, according to Pew Research, accounting for more than 50% of state-wide population growth.
- Current Census data shows that the city of Coatesville is nearly 25% Hispanic or Latino.
Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations
There are many celebrations throughout Pennsylvania to honor Hispanic Heritage Month this year, including a kick-off at the Main Capitol Building Rotunda in Harrisburg and several happenings in Philadelphia. There are also events closer to home in the Greater Coatesville area, including an interactive zoom session entitled, “The Importance of Hispanic Heritage,” presented by actress and motivational speaker Alisa Reyes and the Downingtown Area School District. Reyes is best known for her role on the Nickelodeon sketch comedy show All That and as the voice of LeCienega Boulevardez on the Disney Channel’s The Proud Family. She also has strong ties to our local community — her mother was from Coatesville! This free virtual event will take place at 6PM on Monday, September 19. For more information or to register, click here.
The Alliance for Health Equity (formerly Brandywine Health Foundation) is a philanthropic organization striving to advance a more equitable, resilient and healthy community for all residents of the Greater Coatesville area. We pursue our mission by providing grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and students that address health and economic disparities and social justice. We also build partnership programs and give voice to those often left out of community solution building to improve the overall health of their communities. 100% of contributions go directly to those in need.